Showtime Networks-owned Smithsonian Channel will debut two specials this November to coincide with Veterans Month in the U.S.: Memphis Belle in Color and Battle of Midway: The True Story.
B-17 bomber plane Memphis Belle (pictured) and its 10 crew members became a symbol of the Allies’ fight against the German Luftwaffe during World War II.
The plane was the first B-17 to return home, and became the focus of William Wyler’s 1944 film Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress.
Memphis Belle in Color, premiering Nov. 10 a 9 p.m. ET/PT, uses newly-restored 4K footage from Wyler’s film to uncover the story of the fame planed and the contribution of B-17 bombers, nicknamed “flying fortresses,” in airborne battlefields.
The special includes first-person tales of combat from veterans of B-17 missions and reveals the full restoration of the Memphis Belle at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.
Battle of Midway: The True Story, broadcasting Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, chronicles one of the largest naval engagements of WWII through the lens of the U.S. Navy’s three key aircraft at Midway: the Devastator, Avenger and Dauntless.
Together, the three attack planes had to overcome an ambush attack from the enemy and face the long-range fighter aircraft, nicknamed Zero, that had already wreaked devastation at Pearl Harbor.
Using archival footage, the hour-long special uncovers the story behind the dramatic clash in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and how the battle would turn the tide of the war in favor of the Allies.